Sympathy for the devil: Faust, history and poetics in my novels

Pickering, P (2020) Sympathy for the devil: Faust, history and poetics in my novels. PhD thesis, Bath Spa University.

Abstract

I explore the devil's paradox, of acting for the bad and causing the opposite, and how my protagonists, intending good, are drawn to the dark following a Faustian bargain, amid themes of authoritarianism, rebellion and war, described from an absurdist perspective with black humour, a synthesis I show breaks new ground. I discuss my work in the context of Faust, historically my post-colonial perspective and the tropes and methodologies I employ, and poetics. I consider 'Wild About Harry' (1985) and 'The Blue Gate of Babylon' (1989) in separate chapters and then the remaining four novels, 'Perfect English' (1986), 'Charlie Peace' (1991), 'The Leopard's Wife' (2010) and 'Over the Rainbow' (2011 ), and explain the direction of new work, all in the framework of my influences with reference to two important Faustian novels, 'The Master and Margarita' by Mikhail Bulgakov (Glenny translation, 1967) and 'Lolita' by Vladimir Nabokov (1955). I show how my fiction further reveals the destructive protagonist and links with major psychological studies, for example 'The Authoritarian Personality', Adorno et al, Berkeley (1950). I discuss the poetics of my work from the importance of colour to the humour needed to achieve my particular style.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Note:

This is a PhD by Publication. Part of the overall thesis is a collection of six novels by Paul Pickering, published between 1985 and 2011.

Keywords: PhD by publication, creative writing, creative practice based, protagonists, Faust, morality, authoritarianism, psychology, humour, war, post-colonialism, Mikhail Bulgakov, Vladimir Nabokov, Theodor Adorno
Divisions: School of Creative Industries
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2021 18:28
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2021 18:31
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